Tag Archives: Upper Deck

I Was a Teenage Prospector: Dave Hollins

Hollins UD

1990 Upper Deck

Dave Hollins was one of those prospects that came out of nowhere for me and did a lot better than by all rights he should have. I only learned about the Rule V Draft in 1990, and Hollins was my entree into this confusing world, and after watching him play some, I scooped up as his cards as soon as I could, which was not soon enough. I believe my first Hollins card came in the 1990 Fleer Update set, but based off of Ken Griffey Jr‘s rookie card, Upper Deck was considered THE rookie card to have (Leaf would steal that crown soon enough).

Hollins is also one of those players whom I would love to see in their original uniform, one of those “almost” cards like the Ryne Sandberg Phillies cards that have popped up over the years. I wouldn’t say I’d give anything to see Hollins in a Padres uniform, but I think it would be pretty cool, especially since the Pads’ uniforms at the time were so great.

Careerwise, Hollins didn’t turn out to be anything special. I mean, sure, he had some great years, but overall he was just above average in OPS+, which means he was below average for a third baseman. Guess I didn’t miss out on much not getting his Leaf card after all.

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Card of the Day: 1999 Upper Deck 10th Anniversary Alex Rodriguez

As much of a weirdo as A-Rod is, and as much as I hate the Yankees, I have to respect what he’s done. I just have to.

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Card of the Day: 2002 SPx GU Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordonez

Just a sweetass card today.

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I Was a Teenage Prospector: Mickey Pina

Pina UD

1990 Upper Deck

1990 was the first year I followed Spring Training as a baseball fan, and I dug into with both hands, enjoying the younger players that got playing time, hoping that I would get some clues as to future stars. Mickey was the first guy that grabbed my attention. I had never heard of him, but he showed up in ST and started hitting moonshots off of established players. This was well before I understood how Spring Training stats worked, so I thought I had found a diamond in the rough. This articlefrom that year says it all:

“WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – There is rapidly becoming one story in spring training. He is 6 feet tall with bulging muscles. He grew up in Bridgewater, played for Bridgewater-Raynham High School and the Bridgewater Legion. One of his idols was Jim Rice. He adored Carl Yastrzemski and respected the ability of Dwight Evans.

He’s got a made-for-Fenway Park swing. Short, compact and sweet. Some think he will someday rule the Wall. The question now is: Will Mickey Pina supplant Evans as the right fielder, with the veteran’s back flareups too unpredictable for the Sox to count on him?”

Of course, he didn’t make the team in 1990, went back to Pawtucket, and somehow degenerated. His career was gone after that. But that’s not what we’re concerned with here. I was more concerned with not being able to find ANY of his cards in 1990. The first to hit was his 1990 ProCards issue, the first regular minor league set I was able to afford, but this beauty is the one I always remember when I think of that guy. It’s a shame he became another in a long line of Red Sox outfield disappointments, because I thought for sure I had the next Yastrzemski. Instead it was just another Sam Horn.

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I Was a Teenage Prospector: Eric Anthony

Anthony UD

1990 Upper deck

Man, this guy looked like a monster in 1990. I was vaguely aware of his existence leading up to the release of this card, but seeing it and reading about his exploits on the back sealed the deal for my love for him. The late 80s and early 90s were all about big power guys for me, and Anthony was the prototype, with that monster shot he hit in the Astrodome.

But the main memory I have of Anthony has nothing to do with his career. It’s all about sitting in a musty old library in a musty old middle school that didn’t have air conditioning in the May sun. Four of us sat around a table right before class started, each with a stack of his own cards, divvying up offers and throwing down some lopsided trades. I was not the richest kid in the world, so trading was my biggest outlet for picking up players that I wanted; I would stack up cards of superstars of the day and offer them for the prospects, sure I was the one taking the other guy to the cleaner with my superior knowledge of player scouting and development.

Well, it didn’t quite work out, but I certainly remember getting this beaut of a card. It was probably my fourth or fifth copy of the card, but I could never get enough of the Sure Things, and Anthony was about as sure as it got. Too bad it never worked out that way.

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I Was a Teenage Prospector: Wilson Alvarez

Alvarez UD

1990 Upper Deck

Wilson Alvarez was one of those players who, for me, had a reputation that preceded him. I read about him in some magazine back in the day, most likely early 1990, talking about this Rangers kid who was tearing up the minors and had a high upside. I was immediately captivated and wanted a card of him but, unfortunately, they were a little hard to find at the time (read: non-existent, save for minor league issues that were as out of reach for me as the moon).

So I was all ready for him to become a big-time Rangers prospect, and as the team also had Brian Bohanon in the pipeline for a team that had Bobby Witt and Nolan Ryan, I had a good feeling about the future of the Rangers pitching staff. Then, of course, Alvarez got dealt to the White Sox as part of the Sammy Sosa deal (yikes, Texas, just yikes), leaving the 1989 Topps Debut card as the only one depicting him in a Rangers uniform (and this was a good few months before that set came out). As I was somewhat into the Rangers at the time, this was kind of a mood killer, but I still looked forward to this card.

Then, of course, the Upper Deck high numbers were issued. This was becoming an annual treat for me, so I went nuts when I started to see them, pulling Wilson fairly early on and putting him in a plastic case. These days, of course, it’s not worth nearly as much – Alvarez had a decent if not great career – but the picture on the front still evokes memories of that long wait and my excitement pulling him from a pack. I wish sometimes I could go back to that simplicity in collecting, but I’m pretty happy with where I am.

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Trades with Rhubarb Runner and BA Benny

Apologies guys for combining both trades into one post, but I’ve run late on this one long enough. My first trade was with Rhubarb Runner from e Reyhahn, Reyhahn, a blog I’ve enjoyed for quite awhile now. He contacted me with a trade proposal, and we worked something out, with an eye toward a future, larger trade, I hope (the holiday season is just kicking me around timewise). Here’s a sample of what he sent!

 

2009 Topps Traded Gold

 

Very cool, goes straight into the Zim collection. I dig it.

 

2009 Topps Gold

 

And then here’s that OTHER Zim. I’m always happy to get Jordan’s cards, and I like this one a lot – I feel the photo works a lot better with the gold borders than the white ones.

 

2010 Topps Opening Day Blue

 

I think this was my first Opening Day blue card for this year, and I like it a lot. I may try to collect the entire team set.

And the centerpiece of the trade on my end. Everts never really panned out to be much, but I’ve been trying to get his autograph and GU for awhile now; I like obtaining stuff like this from obscure players almost as much as the All Stars, and it’s a nice addition to the collection. Thanks, David! I still plan to dig through that

Okay, now to Mike’s trade. Mike, of course, runs BA Benny’s Baseball Card Buffet and Pack Rip Cafe, both of which are great blogs worth checking out. This was actually our second trade, a follow-up to our previous trade. This began when I saw he had broken a box of 2010 Topps Update and scored some Nationals and Senators that I wanted. Let’s look at the targets first:

 

2010 Topps Traded Gold

 

Well, duh. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to part with this one, but I appreciate that he did. It’s definitely going to occupy a cherished spot in my collection, especially as it has both Stras and Zim on the same card. Very cool.

That coloring job is horrific, but I will always ALWAYS want a card with The Big Train on it. Walter Johnson was the man.

 

Original Back

 

I’ll also always want cards with Killebrew as a National/Senator. He was in Washington for such a brief time that these cards, even reprints, are always a treat.

There were a few other update cards, but that was the core of what I wanted. Of course, it wouldn’t be a trade without a few throw-ins, and he threw in a LOT of cards. My favorite, and what turned out to be my favorite of the package even ahead of the Strasburg, is this:

Detwiler will likely not become much, but this is cool because I have the non-gold edition of this card…putting the gold next to the regular is incredibly sweet. Like I said, sometimes it’s not about the player’s star power; there are lots of other factors.

1999 Bowman Chrome International

The 98 and 99 Bowman Chrome International cards are AWESOME, and this one is no exception.

2006 Topps Own the Game

2006 Topps Stars

A couple of cool 06 Topps inserts.

2006 Topps Trading Places

Another insert that seemed highly appropriate next to Soriano.

2007 Bowman Heritage Refractor/Rainbow

Are these refractors or rainbow cards? I’m never quite sure. Either way, love the set, and I like Jesus Flores. I keep holding out hope he’s not injured again.

There was a lot more stuff, but this is all I really have room for. Thanks a lot, guys! I hope you enjoy what I sent your way.

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